Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cookie Sock Design Classes

Before I get to the recap of my sock design classes with Cookie, I wanted to quickly thank you for all your amazing comments and although I've been horrible (again) at keeping up with blog-reading, I do appreciate you for stopping by here occasionally to check in on me and I do consider those who comment here frequently, to be true friends. Thank you for sharing your personal stories with me and offering me words of encouragement during the last few months. I don't think you'll ever know how much it truly means to me.

So now that you know I love you, (in spite of my lack of commenting on your blogs), here's just a little re-cap of my Cookie class!

A few days before my birthday, I told DH that I hoped he hadn't purchased anything because I knew what I wanted. He was a little surprised but not shocked when I told him I wanted to spend the day in Burbank, California on a Sunday to learn sock design from the sock design queen herself, Cookie A. Of course, he asked the typical "how much is it", question, and agreed that $150 was a fair enough amount for two, 3-hour classes from someone who I obviously admired. I promptly placed my online order at Unwind for the two classes, gladly gave them my credit card info, and within moments I was confirmed for the classes.

Sunday morning, I arrived at Unwind 15 minutes before the class started and Cookie was still setting up her mannequin display legs outfitted in her beautiful sock creations. The first class was named Top-Down Sock Design and the description stated: "Learn how to design a sock using the stitch pattern of your choice. We will use a standard sock construction including a ribbed cuff, heel flap, gusset, and wedge toe." We were each given a 10-page handout that included all the material we learned in the class along with some worksheets and charts that are worth the price of the class alone. The class taught me so much, but I now finally understand why it's easier to design a sock from the cuff-down instead of the toe-up. Not that it can't be done toe-up, but with complicated designs, it seems to be much easier cuff-down (or top-down). The three hours flew by and although my design worked in theory, when I got home and worked on it further, I realized it didn't work in function. The lace pattern was diagonal and so it ended up pulling the sock diagonally. Back to the drawing board.

There was a one-hour break between classes and so I took a leisurely walk down the street towards Porto's to have lunch. This is an amazing Cuban bakery and cafe, and if you're ever in the area, make sure you don't miss it! When I was there it was crowded and difficult to find a seat, but if you're patient, it's worth the wait. I didn't "brave" the traditional Cuban sandwich, but instead ordered a usual favorite of mine, the Italian Sub. I would not hesitate to order it again!

The first class was great, the lunch was great, the weather was ideal, and so I had high hopes for the afternoon. The class was named Sock Design Overview and the description was "learn about various concerns in sock design including which numbers need to be calculated, where stitches need to line up, what to factor into your personal fit, heel types, pros and cons of top-down vs. toe-up." This class included a 5-page handout and including a few sections that were the same as the first class, but it definitely seemed more mathematical, which is definitely what I needed, but I'm not sure my brain was prepared for it. We seemed to have a lot of additional "free time" at the end of this class where we could either draw out a sock design or swatch, but I personally would've rather heard Cookie teach some more. It seemed like she either ran out of material to discuss, or we didn't ask enough questions or something, but I was a bit disappointed the class wasn't as "jam-packed" as the first. Then again, my head was already spinning from the first class, so maybe that was a good thing.

Would I recommend Cookie's classes? Absolutely! Would I change anything about the classes ... well ... since you asked .... My personal opinion is that it would be nice to combine both classes into one full day class, or if not, maybe schedule them differently. I would've preferred that the Sock Design Overview class in the morning for 2.5 hours and then after an hour break for lunch, the Top-Down Sock Design class could be scheduled for 3.5 hours. It all still ends up being 6 hours total, but to me, it just makes more sense to have the overview class come first and the design class to follow.

It was a great experience and I now appreciate even more how brilliant of a sock designer Cookie is. I have a better understanding and appreciation for the patterns she charges money for and will not hesitate to purchase anything she designs because for what you get, the price is amazing. I sorted through all of her patterns for quite some time and finally settled on purchasing Twisted Flower and Thelonious, although I'm sure I'll be adding to my Cookie pattern collection a little bit at a time.

Meanwhile, since I'm waiting for a few skeins of Louet Gems to arrive at my doorstep to start one of the patterns I purchased, I think I'll attempt my own simple sock design and hopefully will be posting a successfully designed sock here soon.


Micki said...

Great review! I too think it's odd that the "Design Overview" part of the class came second. Maybe she was afraid of scaring people off with all the math? In any case, I can't wait to see what kinds of designs you come up with.

I'm thinking healthy thoughts for you. :)

Carole Knits said...

It's great that you had a positive experience with both classes.

SJ said...

Sounds like a fantastic time!

The_Add_Knitter said...

Such an interesting experience, thanks for recounting it in such detail. I agree that Cookie A.'s patterns represent true artistry!

KeanaLee said...

Those sock patterns are beautiful - I can't wait to see your finished socks! I wish Cookie was around here & the Cuban place!

Karen said...

Thank you for the wonderful class review - sounds like they were both terrific classes. You are becoming quite the sock pro!!

Dave said...

Sounds like it was an interesting and worthwhile day. I'm looking forward to seeing how you put all this new knowledge into practise. :-)

lynda said...

What a great birthday present!

Yarn It said...

Sounds like a great experience! From what you said, I think I agree with you on the class format. But I am sure the information was valuable regardless.

I can't wait to see your own sock design! I wish I was more of a sock knitter...but I tend not to be. But if you come up with a design I will knit a pair!

I hope you are feeling better. I miss your posts but understand your need to lay low. Take care of yourself!

tiennie said...

How very cool! I'm jealous! Now I can't wait to see what you design.

Laura said...

Love the photo of you and Cookie. :-) Bummer that you weren't 100% thrilled with the classes, but I'm glad you were able to come away with some good knowledge anyway. Love both of the designs you bought.

abby said...

Very interesting observations! The length of the classes would have scared me off, for sure. Good thing you got to refuel with a yummy sandwich! Look forward to seeing what you design in the future!

Kathy said...

The first thing I thought of was COOKIEs at a sock class. Sugar cookies decorated like socks. So , I was a bit sad . Anyhow, sounds like you learned alot and stretched your knittig knowledge.

I cannot sit through a class more than 45 minutes long. THat's all my brain can handle. This limits me. I hope my stitches midwest class on using stash keeps me entertained more than other stitches classes have!

Your review was great

Hasbu said...

Sounds like you had a great time even though it'd been logical to have the overview class first. I can't wait to see some finished Cookie socks off your needles!

ScrapHappy said...

I will definitely be looking for a class by Cookie A. in my area soon!
Thanks for the recap. Can't wait to see what you come up with in your own designs!
PS you look beautiful!!!